California’s new ZEV battery manufacturing grant program open for applications

CALSTART, a California-based clean transportation nonprofit, announced the opening of PowerForward, California’s equity-first, market-accelerating, ZEV battery-manufacturing infrastructure grant program.

This program is funded by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and is implemented by CALSTART in partnership with New Energy Nexus, Lawrence Berkeley Lab, and Yunev.

PowerForward is designed to attract and retain manufacturing of batteries for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in California, create positive economic impacts that benefit local communities and priority populations, foster a California battery supply-chain ecosystem and contribute to California’s goal of zero-emission transportation. It aims to set a standard for domestic battery manufacturing that focuses on environmental impact, community engagement, and workforce development.

This grant solicitation is open only to private, for-profit businesses with projects in California now through 1 July 2024, at 5 p.m. Pacific Time with priority given to those hiring in disadvantaged communities (DACs) and low-income communities (LICs) throughout the state.

DACs are defined as being in the 75 to 100 percentile (top 25 percent) of CalEnviroScreen 4.0. and LICs are the census tracts and households, respectively, that are either at or below 80 percent of the statewide median income, or at or below the threshold designated as low-income by the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

The minimum possible award [in each category] for this solicitation is $5 million; the maximum award is $17.5 million. Projects are eligible for awards of up to 50 percent of total project costs; therefore, a total allowable project cost of at least $10 million is required to apply.

Projects must be in California. The project must fit into one of two major categories:

  1. Cathodes. The processing of precursor materials for cathodes and the manufacturing of cathodes for cells and batteries for zero-emission vehicles.
  2. Batteries. Material Processing; Cell Components; Cell Manufacturing; Module, Packs, and Battery Management System; Remanufacturing & Recycling.

Both categories offer a maximum of $17.5 million in funding. Applicants must complete an application form to be considered for a grant award.